Award first for jersey breeders - Brookbora Jerseys
Brookbora Jersey is a familiar name around the dairying circles of International Dairy Week. Robert and Sandra Bacon started visiting Dairy Week 25 years ago but it was 10 years before they took the plunge and finally stepped into the show ring.
Both Robert and Sandra love a good cow and their 260-cow herd at Tennyson is testament to their decades of sound breeding decisions. But if it was up to the couple initially, that’s where the cows would have stayed — chewing their cud on the irrigated pasture at Tennyson.
But son Daniel has always had other ideas, and from a young age took an avid interest in showing.
And show cattle they have.
IDW is now a permanent fixture on the calendar amongst a couple of other Jersey shows and the family, after many years, is now comfortable participating on the show circuit.
This year the family was awarded Premier Breeder.
They were excited to finally win the honour after coming close a few years previously.
“We don’t breed for show cows. It’s always been about running a dairy business and producing milk, but if we do
breed a good animal she will find her way into the show team,” Sandra said.
This year, the Brookbora team consisted of eight milkers and three heifers — all placed in the top 10, bar one.
Brookbora Standard Lady 306 (ASKN) placed second in the two-year-old in milk class while five-year-old Brookbora Valentino Fair Mavis (pictured) placed third in the five-year-old class.
Daniel and Robert bounce breeding ideas off each other and the stud has had particular success with the bulls TBone, Vanahlem and Valentino.
In fact, Brookbora Tbone Bonita 2nd has been in the championship line-up seven times in her career and was named champion four-year-old in the Great Australian Challenge in 2017.
In December she was classified a 94 point cow.
The family are awaiting a daughter to come into the herd in autumn and like all farmers, were saddened when they lost one of her progeny as a two-year-old.
“Breeding cows is what has kept us here over the years. We love the enjoyment we get out of it and the challenge of always trying to improve our genetics. Some of our show animals have been sired by our own bulls or bulls we have had a hand in breeding, which is a lot of work, but also extremely rewarding,” Robert said.
The couple breed for all the usual things including production, longevity and sound udders, and the depth of a pedigree is always something they consider.
“We use genomics as a tool but it is not the be-all-and-end-all for us,” Robert said.
The herd is calved in April and again in August.
The heifers run with their own home bred bulls while the milking herd is all AI. The family has had numerous bulls find their way into AI, including mature age bull Askn, while others have been exported overseas and sold across Australia.
Recent tough times have left the couple deeply concerned about the future for the industry and Daniel, who is determined to eventually take over the running of the farm.
“Daniel wanting to take over the farm is a great thing but the way the industry is going, politically and environmentally, it is becoming more and more of a challenge,” Robert said.
“We were the same when we started but we have become a little jaded by the tough times now,” Sandra said.
Despite tough times, the couple agrees there is nothing quite like taking a moment, walking through the herd and soaking it all in.
“Sometimes you do just have to take a step back and appreciate what you have, where you have been and where you hope to be in the future,” Sandra said.
And I am sure the Bacons will be back at IDW with more Brookbora cows in the future.
Article courtsey of Crazycow. To find the full article, click here